Q: My husband takes Prilosec OTC for heartburn. Lately he has not been able to find it. The last pharmacy he went to told him it's so popular that you now need a prescription. Huh? Why would you need...

Share story

Desperately seeking Prilosec



Q:

My husband takes Prilosec OTC for heartburn. Lately he has not been able to find it. The last pharmacy he went to told him it’s so popular that you now need a prescription. Huh? Why would you need a prescription for an over-the-counter drug?


A:

Prilosec was once the most successful prescription heartburn medicine in the world. When the drug lost patent protection, it became available over the counter.

We checked with the maker, Procter & Gamble, who told us that demand has outstripped expectations. The company anticipates adequate supplies by January.

Most Read Stories

Unlimited Digital Access. $1 for 4 weeks.

Until then, your husband could get this acid suppressor by prescription. It is sold by the brand name Prilosec or the generic omeprazole.

Raw eggs pose salmonella threat



Q:

I have relatives who make milkshakes for my 5-year-old granddaughter. They always use a raw egg. They seem to think the uncooked egg is better. I’ve read eggs should be cooked before eating. Is this true?


A:

Raw eggs can be contaminated with salmonella. Such bacteria can cause food poisoning that can lead to serious illness. Any food that contains uncooked eggs, such as homemade cookie dough, cake batter or eggnog, can pose a hazard. Pasteurized egg products can be purchased in the refrigerated dairy case. They would be far safer.

Breathe deep



Q:

As a boy I had a lot of trouble with asthma. When I was 10 I started playing the harmonica. The blow and draw forced me to develop diaphragmatic breathing, as singers do. Without realizing it I conquered my asthma. I still play chromatic harmonica (virtuoso style). During World War II, I carried two harmonicas through combat in Italy. I haven’t had asthma in more than 70 years.


A:

Deep breathing can have many health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, easing anxiety and helping to control asthma. Although people sometimes grow out of asthma, your harmonica playing might have helped.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them c/o King Features Syndicate, 888 Seventh Ave., New York, NY 10019, or e-mail them at pharmacy@mindspring.com or via their Web site: www.peoplespharmacy.org